Following President Russell M. Nelson's announcement that the Church will discontinue home and visiting teaching to focus on ministering to our fellow brothers and sisters in the Church, the First Presidency released the following letter on lds.org:
April 2, 2018
To: General Authorities; General Auxiliary Presidencies; Area Seventies; Stake, Mission, and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents; Stake and Ward Councils
(To be read in sacrament meeting)
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Ministering with Strengthened Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums and Relief Societies
The Savior’s ministry exemplifies the two great commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). In that spirit, Jesus also taught, “Ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people” (3 Nephi 13:25).
To focus the efforts of Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and Relief Societies on ministering as the Savior taught, we announce the following adjustments:
At the ward level, one Melchizedek Priesthood quorum. Members of elders quorums and high priests groups are now combined into one quorum with one presidency. The quorum is designated the “elders quorum,” and ward high priests groups are discontinued.
At the stake level, one high priests quorum. The stake presidency continues to serve as the presidency of the high priests quorum. Members of that quorum are only those high priests currently serving in the stake presidency, in bishoprics, on the high council, and as functioning patriarchs.
Ministering replaces home teaching and visiting teaching. The separate programs of home teaching and visiting teaching are now a coordinated effort referred to as “ministering,” overseen by the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies under the direction of the bishop. Ministering is Christlike caring for others and helping meet their spiritual and temporal needs.
Including youth in ministering. Ministering may include Laurels and Mia Maids as companions to Relief Society sisters, and priests and teachers continue as companions to Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
The quorum adjustments should be implemented promptly. The ministering adjustments may take some time but should be in place as soon as possible. Additional information is available at ministering.lds.org.
The First Presidency
In addition, lds.org provides an FAQ page about this new program, showing changes at the ward, stake, and personal level. As the page indicates:
Jesus’s life and ministry exemplify the two great commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). As members of the Savior’s Church truly desiring to be His disciples, we should follow His admonition to love and serve our Father in Heaven and His children. “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me,” the Savior said (D&C 42:29). King Benjamin taught, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Mormon summarized our duty by noting, “They did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness” (Mosiah 23:18).
To help each of us respond to the divine mandate to care for and serve others, the First Presidency has announced the following adjustments, designed to focus the efforts of Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and Relief Societies on ministering as the Savior did. These adjustments include the following:
At the ward level, one Melchizedek Priesthood quorum.
At the stake level, one high priests quorum.
Ministering replaces home teaching and visiting teaching.
Including youth in ministering.
In support of these adjustments, wards and stakes no longer hold priesthood executive committee meetings. If a special ward issue arises, such as a delicate family matter or an unusual welfare challenge, it could be addressed in an expanded bishopric meeting. Other less-sensitive matters could be addressed in the ward council. What have been called “stake priesthood executive committee meetings” are called “high council meetings” (see questions 7 and 15, below).
On lds.org, Church members are assured: "Over a period of years, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have considered the adjustments described below. Only with much prayer, careful study of the scriptural foundation of priesthood quorums, unanimity of presiding Church leaders, and confirmation that this is the Lord’s will, leaders have moved forward with the restructuring of quorums at the ward and stake level, making this one more step in the unfolding of the Restoration."